Speech of outgoing COMSEEBRIG, BG Tudorica PETRACHE, at the Ceremony for the Activation of SEEBRIG HQ in a new location, Command Handover-Takeover and 21 Anniversary of SEEBRIG HQ, Kumanovo/Na-5, 26 August 2020
our excellencies – Mr. President PENDAROVSKI,
Mr. Prime Minister SPASOVSKI, Mrs. Minister of Defense SHEKERINSKA, Mr. Chairman KOCI,
Ladies and gentlemen,
Good afternoon, I wish you a very warm welcome here in Camp Boro Menkov, for our triple event – Activation of SEEBRIG HQ, Command Hand Over – Take Over Ceremony and 21st Anniversary of our brigade,
Today is a new beginning for SEEBRIG HQ here in Na-5, where 22 years ago the Multinational Peace Force South-Eastern Europe Agreement was signed in Skopje. That was the birth certificate for our brigade which became officially operational on 31st of August 1999.
It’s been 21 years since this unique structure has started its journey with the main mission to contribute to regional security, enhance cooperation in conducting Peace Support and Humanitarian Relief Operations and to foster good neighbourly relations among the countries in South Eastern Europe.
Based on a rotational system the SEEBRIG HQ was deployed first in Na-2/Plovdiv from 1999 to 2003, then in Na-6/Constanta from 2003 to 2007, Na-7/Istanbul from 2007 to 2011 and Na-3/Larissa from 2011 till 2020. After 21 years we have come to the place where this wonderful journey had been designed. It is an historical event for everybody, especially for the host nation and we are honoured and proud to be part of this.
Three years ago when I was appointed as Commander of SEEBRIG, I mentioned that for the period to come, I would focus the SEEBRIG effort on 3 interconnected lines: collective training and exercises, interoperability and visibility.
During this period, we have been working hard to achieve these goals. We have been involved in many exercises organized by NATO entities like NRDC-Greece, Spain and Turkey, Multinational Division SE from Romania, Euro-Atlantic Disaster Response Coordination Centre and non-NATO entities like our sister LITPOLUKR Brigade from Poland. We succeded to plan, organize and carry out with excellent results our main exercises SEVEN STARS and BALKAN BRIDGES.
I am satisfied that my staff understood the necessity to increase the speed, the professionalism and quality of assessment. For these reasons we continued to cooperate with different centres of excellencies in order to train our personnel on different topics related with Peace Support Operations, Disaster Relief Operations and Humanitarian Assistance.
From the interoperability perspective, I tried to build more communication channels and meanings to be closer with our affiliated units. Interoperability is not a static process, it is continuously and the ability to operate together coherently and efficiently took a lot of effort, commitment, resources and time. Therefore, during evaluation visits we verified the standardization of procedures, interoperability of equipment and practical skills in dynamic exercises. Moreover I had every year key leader training sessions with affiliated units commanders in order to diseminate lessons learned and to create the proper framework to speak a common language, to have the same voice. Somebody actually said that: “When unique voices are united in a common cause, they make history“.
Visibility was another level of ambition. During my mandate I succeded to reconnect, to foster and develop cooperation with NATO and non-NATO structures like SHAPE, UN – Department of peace operations, OSCE – High level planning group, KFOR and Regional Arms Control Verification and Implementation Assistance Centre. The meetings were very fruitful and we had the chance to reaffirm SEEBRIG capabilities availability in our area of expertise.
SEEBRIG represents today an outstanding outcome of South Eastern Europe Strategic Security Environment. This is exactly what our Nations wished to have and its commitement and journey will continue for the next 6 years in Na-5. I take this opportunity to convey to HN many thanks for the outstanding effort they made to welcome, host and accommodate us. Last year during the 1st Recce visit we had in Na-5, I met with Minister of Defense Her Excellency Radmila Shekerinska and Chief of Defense LTG Vasko GJURCHINOVSKI and they assured me that everything will be ready in time. The promise was kept and we are all grateful for the support and excellent conditions we have found here in Camp Boro Menkov, where this triple event is organized.
I also congratulate Na-5 for becoming the full member of NATO. It is an historical achievement and being part of this big family will add more value, strengthen and security to our regional initiative.
Furthermore, I want to express my sincere appreciation to former PMSC/SEDM-CC Chairman His Excellency Mr. Eleftherios Anghelopoulos and the Chairman in office His Excellency Mr. Petro Koci, for their willingness to guide, advice and support our activity.
At last but not least, I want to congratulate and to thank my staff for their dedication in the successful completion of numerous tasks and assignments, leaving behind any cultural and mentality barrier and working together for a common cause, creating a harmonized military organization. I am sure that you will continue to do your job with professionalism and the Host Nation will provide the kindness and hospitality so that you can feel in Na-5 like being home.
Brigadier General Aristidis Iliopoulos, I wish you good luck and great achievements in your new position as Commander of SEEBRIG.
In the end, may I once again thank you and wish you and your families a good health, prosperity, happiness and good luck!
Happy Anniversary of SEEBRIG!
God bless you all!
BLAGODARAM NA SITE !